The Partition Of India And Pakistan
The Partition of India was the division of British India in 1947 which accompanied the creation of two independent dominions, India and Pakistan. But this partition was not as simple as it seems to be. A gruesome massacre was carried around where almost 200,000 to 2,000,000 people were killed from both the communities- Hindu and Muslim. It was the result of British’s divide and rule policy. In August, 1947, when, after three hundred years in India, the British finally left, they managed to split the countries in two halves- one the Hindu dominated “India” and Muslim dominated “Pakistan”. The two-nation theory was a founding principle of the Pakistan Movement that is the ideology of Pakistan as a Muslim nation-state in South Asia, and the partition of India in 1947. The population of undivided India was approximately 390 million. After partition, there were 330 million people in India, 30 million in West Pakistan, and 30 million people in East Pakistan now Bangladesh. Partition triggered riots, mass casualties, and a colossal wave of migration.
Neighbors became rivals, friends became enemies and the belongings became souvenir. What was the motherland for one became the land of massacre for other. Around 15 million people were forced to abandon their houses, shops and occupations and were asked to leave. Trains were burned, women were raped, men were slaughtered and children were smashed. Suddenly the soil of India became red with the bloodshed of humans. Families were lost and loved ones died- all in a blink. Women were mostly the subject of family honour and thus were raped and abducted, it is estimated that around 100,000 women were abducted during the riots. Most of them were killed and many were sold. Many of them were forced to marry the abductors. If I say that the wounds of these women are healed, I would be a liar. The Hindu’s and the Sikh on one side and the Muslims on the other side- outbreak the biggest genocide happened ever in Indian history. The massacre brought forced abduction, arson, homicide, sexual violence, conversions and mass migration. Pregnant women had their breasts cut off and babies hacked out of their bellies; infants were found literally roasted on spits. This mindless holocaust gripped violence that was more brutal then the Nazi holocaust itself. The horror families went through can’t be explained by someone who themselves had not witnessed the bloodily era. But the stories of the survivors unfolds the country’s biggest nightmare and which- needs to be shared, so that the young generation can learn from them and know that war brings nothing but the brutality that is served for no good.
Survivor Ravi Chopra who crossed the border from Sialkot, now Pakistan was eight-years old when along with his grandmother left for Amritsar on a train. What he saw during the journey was nothing less than an un-repairable scar a young child could get for a lifetime. He recalls, “Nobody imagined that such a holocaust would take place. We had to catch the mail train to take us to India. On the way what we saw was heartbreaking. You could see young girls jumping into the well to save their honour because people would catch them and rape them. The houses were on fire. People were running, killing each other, even on the railway track. And then the train came. There was firing. There were bullets flying around and one hit me on my left leg. There was no bandage, nothing to sterilise it. My grandmother was in tears. She didn’t know what to do. She tore off the only dhoti she was wearing. But how to sterilise it? She soaked it in her urine, cleaned the wound and put a bandage.”
Kartar kaur recalls that, at that time, the girls of same age were getting abducted raped by the ragging mob, “my mother gave me rat poison and asked me to eat it than get polluted by the other men.”
Nanu, a young boy back then says, “My sister was taken away by the mob and my mother couldn’t do anything than to force me to move. We left our sister back there in Multan and didn’t do anything to get her back, and this regret is what I will take to my grave and beyond.”
A story shared by National Archive recalls, “I remember a women carrying two small babies with her, she walked for three days carrying her babies with her and on the third day her shoes got torn but she managed to walk another few hours barefoot, but eventually her strength gave up and she left one of the baby at the roadside. This happened to a lot of mothers at that time.”
The granddaughter of one of the survivor Sara, states that her grandfather and his family had to pretend like dead bodies and lay among the pool of dead with their blood smeared up on them and hold their breath at the station to save themselves from the attackers.
“The berth was stuffed with people, I remember my baby cousin mouth was covered with cloths so that he could not make any sound. My uncle told us that the attackers are just outside and if we make a sound, we’ll get killed.” Said Taj Begum.
These are just a handful of the real horror people went through. Though many friends were killing friends, there survives other stories of how humanity found it place even at the time of crisis. These love tales will surely restore your trust on “Insaaniyat sabse bada dharam hai (humanity is the biggest religion)”.
How a women got saved by an elderly man.
In a newly opened partition museum of Amritsar holds a recording of a survivor- at the time of unrest he saw a ‘Sardaarni’ women, whose family was slaughtered in front of her, however she managed to escape with her son and later met an elderly Muslim man who saved her from the raging mob by giving her shelter and later accompanied her to numerous refugee camps in Kurkushetra.
A friendship letter.
The letter is addressed to Amar Kapur by his friend Asif Khwaja, after Amar had left Lahore during Partition. The letter dated 1949, reads, “We assure you with the utmost sincerity that distance has not made the slightest difference in our love and affection for you; that we remember you, and remember you very often, with the same brotherly feeling that for so long characterized our relations.” This however is a story that reminds us that hatred can never be enough in front of love.
The Khaksar community
During Partition, the Khaksar commander in Rawalpindi, Ashraf Khan, asked his followers to take a vow that they would do all they could to protect whoever was in distress. Inspired by their leader, the Khaksars saved many lives, including those of Hindus and Sikhs, during the riots. (Khaksar was a militant Islamic group formed at the time of British rule to free the country from foreign invaders.)
(The stories credit goes to -1947 partition Archive)
These stories from the time of horrid unrest shares some of the most beautiful and important lesson to all of us who talk about war like it was nothing. Even after 70 years of partition, the hatred between both the countries remain the same, why? Not because of the survivors but of our mindless hot blood. These stories suggest how brutal riots can go even on a mere topic. The partition could have been a lot more peaceful if it wasn’t for the hot brain mindless people who in a verge of non-sensible hatred made people lost families and left millions dead.